Travel Guide


Fakarava, The Wonderful Atoll

Located more than 430 km east of Tahiti, Fakarava atoll belongs to the Tuamotu archipelago, more precisely to the Palliser Islands. With its 60 km length and 21 km width, it has the second largest lagoon in French Polynesia. More than 1000 km² of lagoon waters for only 16 km² of land! The only openings to the Pacific Ocean are two passes, which have become a must for divers from all over the world. Because of its rich and surprising biodiversity, especially marine, Fakarava joined the Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 2006. Away from the tourist flows, the atoll offers today an intimate experience in contact with a preserved and intact nature.

About Fakarava

  • Location: Tuamotu Archipelago

  • Area: 16 km²

  • Population: 850

  • Main City: Rotoava

  • From Tahiti : 430 km, 70 mins

  • Airport: Fakarava

Why Visit Fakarava

To come to Fakarava is to explore fantastic landscapes and, in front of so much beauty, to discover oneself in all calm and serenity. This privileged contact with nature is experienced as much on land on the long desert beaches as underwater, during unforgettable and emotional dives. Fakarava is first and foremost a destination for aquatic discoveries with extraordinary underwater fauna and breathtaking coral reefs. In the sapphire colored lagoon, the shark is king.

Most of the atoll’s inhabitants are located in the village of Rotoava, in the north, while a small community has settled in the south in the district of Tetamanu. The population lives mainly from copra, pearl farming and especially from tourism, particularly scuba diving. There are a few guesthouses on the atoll, which are of course of rudimentary comfort, but offer a friendly and warm welcome. Because of the isolation and the imperatives of sustainable development, the price of a stay with activities is very high. This is undoubtedly the price to pay to discover the most beautiful atoll of French Polynesia.

The Essentials Of Fakarava

1. An Ecosystem Completely Preserved

Classified by Unesco, Fakarava belongs to a biosphere reserve grouping six other atolls, one of the 650 existing in the world. In order to protect the ecosystem and biodiversity, human activity is severely limited and must be carried out within the framework of sustainable development. Thus protected, the flora and fauna thrive in harmony in incredible dimensions. Fakarava is a natural wonder.

In the heart of this natural paradise, you will be in the presence of dense vegetation, an astonishing biodiversity on land, intense aquatic activity, not to mention fantastic coral gardens. There are countless endemic animal and plant species. Each dive, each trip in the sea or on land is a profound change of scenery and a source of wonder.  Fakarava is a natural jewel of a rarely equaled intensity.

2. Exceptional Dives

Fakarava is renowned for the diversity and intensity of its aquatic life and is a favorite with divers from around the world. The sites of the two passes, Garuae in the north and Tumakohua in the south, are the focus of attention. Expect strong emotions, from amazement to thrill. Indeed, these passes are home to walls of sharks, where several hundred individuals fly overhead and graze on wetsuits.

The Garuae pass is the widest in French Polynesia, allowing the whole ocean and its inhabitants to enter the lagoon. The density is such that you will not know where to look. To the south, Tumakohua is more suitable for observation. In both cases, diving in Fakarava is reserved for a well-informed and experienced public.

3. An Intimate Destination

Although Fakarava is mainly a destination for scuba diving, the visit of the atoll is worth the detour. You will discover breathtaking landscapes, entirely preserved, giving your adventure the taste of an initiatory retreat. While waiting for the divers to return, the place is deserted and the immersion in nature will never seem so intense.

You will explore Fakarava in search of an archaeological and architectural heritage, where coral churches rub shoulders with the remains of ancient marae. Above all, it is a unique encounter with an absolutely fascinating island population. Far from the traditional tourist circuits, they will share their knowledge of the Paumotu culture and their love for Fakarava. Some will say that they discovered French Polynesia on the atoll.

Fakarava Atoll

Fakarava In A Nutshell

Fakarava offers an extraordinary experience in contact with nature. Its flora and fauna can be discovered during excursions on the motus and dives in the passes. There is a delicate atmosphere of contemplation and adventure on the atoll. The moment will be memorable and will leave a lasting impression, as much for the divers as for the others.

It is a demanding destination, both in terms of comfort and budget. However, it is likely that you will not regret it. For a short stay or for non-divers, two to three nights are necessary. On the other hand, diving enthusiasts can easily consider staying five to ten days. For further information, please contact us and we will be happy to advise you.

Good to know

  • Drinking water: Tap water is not drinkable and it is advisable to buy it in one of the three shops on Fakarava. However, thanks to an ingenious system of cisterns, rainwater is collected and redistributed.

  • Flights: Although it is possible to fly directly to Fakarava from Tahiti, the connections are not daily. Therefore, some will prefer to transit first through the neighboring atoll of Rangiroa.

  • Religion: The population of Fakarava is strongly religious and practicing. The religious services at the beautiful church of Rotoava are the occasion for them to find themselves in faith. To the south, the very old coral church of Tetamanu welcomes pilgrims under a surprising azure blue ceiling.

  • Heritage: Erected in 1957, the magnificent Topaka lighthouse takes on the appearance of a Mayan pyramid. Because of its proximity to the airfield, there was talk of razing it. Let us hope that the civil society continues its efforts to preserve it.

Spotted Eagle Ray in Fakarava, French Polynesia

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